FT Blog: Did My Wheel Just Fall Off?
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- Last updated: 31/07/2017
The BFTA Champs is the first big shoot of the year. Held on a Saturday, it’s piggybacked onto the BFTA Inter-regional competition. This year, ETL (Essex) was the very warm and welcoming venue for the weekend’s double header. Unlike the GP series, the Champs is a feet on start for this one as opposed to the two session shotgun start format of the GP series. It can be the case that the first shooters through have the advantage in less wind and clean plates to see the misses! The course was set mainly in the ‘bowl of doom,’ which really was a flattish piece of land that rotates the course through about 270°, before taking the shooting line off into the main ground.
Having had the rare pleasure of being a passenger to the shoot, I was feeling quite fresh by the time I and my travelling partner, Tosh Crocker, started. As it happened, we were last on the course behind Andy Calpin and Mark Stenton. The afternoon weather was a very warm 22°-ish with a light breeze. I started well, knocking down the first 20 but heat started to get to me in the second half of the course and a couple of wobbles, plus totally miss-reading the wind on one (I missed the plate) meant a finish of 37 ex 40. Good effort and in the trophy places but with Andras Feket-Moro, Andrew Gillot and Neil Hague all tied on 38, not in the leader’s pack. Hague was solid on the shoot off and took the title.
Sunday’s ETL course was sheltered, which was a blessing in the sun that eventually climbed well past 25°! This Time, I was first on the course but not quite ready after a joyful Saturday night with some of the FT fraternity! Sunday is a team comp and at the end of it was the North East (NEFTA) that came out on top. Well done on re-gaining the title, and a huge thanks to all who put on the event, a great weekend.
Just a couple of weeks later, the FT crowd were heading just past Bristol to Avon Hawks FTC for GP1. The mostly wooded ground was used for a GP for the first time in 2015 and it had rave reviews, so no surprise that despite its slightly SW location, a full house of 150+ wanted to shoot. The light breeze increased slightly to a breeze from A.M to P.M sessions, so conditions were fairly equal and top results were fairly well split between the two sessions; something that can be a bone of contention at some GP rounds!
Youngster Dylan Varney had an outstanding A.M session, missing just one of the 50-targets. Andras Fekete-Moro continued his good early season form, to record 48, as did Jack Harris. Harris has now ditched the Anschutz 9015 and gone back to his trusty EV2 and big Nikko combination. My luck seemed to hold and I also put in a 48 (for 3rd place after a shoot off) which was matched by Air Arms team captain James Osborne in the P.M session.
So, off to one of my main aims of the FT season, to do well in the NEFTA Classic. Two days full of shooting, 40-shot FT course and 40-silhouettes each day. Last year was a disaster, but after the recent good form, I was sure this year would be better! It was in some ways, my silhouette results increased, very slightly, but at least I managed to hit both a rack of 5 turkeys and rams, so I am now the proud owner of two badges! The FT side of things however, was another matter. Saturday I knew from the off something was wrong. My cross hairs were like windscreen wipers, sweeping back and forth across the kill, a sign of tiredness. This surprised me, as staying overnight, I thought would make things OK; but I guess 6-hours sleep after 5 hours travelling was not enough! The wheels really fell off Sunday, as although I could now hold the gun steady, I just couldn’t do anything right. I’d mentally given up, and only kept shooting to keep marking my partner’s card.
Hindsight now reveals that too much was packed into the weekend, especially the late travelling, which I think left me far more tired than I realised. There’s now a nice international flavour to the weekend, with shooters from Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, and my shooting partner for the weekend was Germany’s Alex Siegler. Alex posted a superb 39 on the windless Saturday, as did John Amos, shooting a Walther LGU Spring gun! Both did enough to take their class wins with Ashley Holloway taking the Silhouette title and Neil Hague the title of NEFTA Champion.
Full results can be found on the BFTA web site https://www.thebfta.net/
So a good start in some areas, but I have to prepare better for the long distance shoots! I’ll report back at the end of the season as to how things went, but now Harris has the Air Arms EV2 back, I think he would be a good bet for a hat-trick of GP series wins!!
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